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Access to farmland gets quick and dirty in sub-Saharan Africa

Who can access and use the land? The answer to this age-old question is changing fast in many parts of rural Africa. Land that used to be allocated within the community by chiefs is now increasingly changing hands in more diverse ways.

The wealthy and well-connected within the community or from further afield are frequently able to override local statutory or customary land rights, dispossessing the previous occupants or forcing them to divide their already small plots of land.

When government-backed investors obtain large tracts for agribusiness, local farmers who manage to participate in the schemes do well, but those who cannot may find themselves in dire need of support. While the scale and pace of these changes are growing fast, policy responses are lagging.

This briefing sets out some suggestions for how to close the gap.

Download: English ; also available in French and Portuguese

Land is central to livelihoods, culture and identity for millions of people across the developing world. But there is growing concern that people's connection to their land is being undermined, due to large-scale land deals for agricultural investments in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

More at www.iied.org:Understanding growing pressures on land: 'land grabbing' and beyond

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